Filipino sailor’s thumb loss an 'accident' from boat collision — PCG

Ghio Ong - Philstar.com
Filipino sailor�s thumb loss an 'accident' from boat collision � PCG
This screengrab taken from a handout video filmed on June 17, 2024 and released by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) on June 19 shows Chinese coast guard personnel (L,R) aboard their inflatable boats blocking Philippine navy boats (C) during a confrontation at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The Philippine military said on June 19, the Chinese coast guard rammed and boarded Filipino navy boats in a violent confrontation in the South China Sea this week in which a Filipino sailor lost a thumb. China defended its actions, with its foreign ministry saying that "no direct measures" were taken against Filipino personnel.
Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office / AFP

MANILA. Philippines — Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Commodore Jay Tarriela said that the Filipino sailor's injury was a result of the “high-speed ramming incident” involving Chinese and Filipino rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), hence an “accident.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led the June 17 resupply mission for the Sierra Madre outpost manned by a handful of Marines. The China Coast Guard (CCG) operation to stop the resupply mission reportedly hurt at least eight Filipinos, according to initial reports, with one military personnel – identified by the AFP as Seaman First Class Jeffrey Facundo – losing a thumb.

Video footage from the AFP that Tarriela posted on X showed the CCG attackers outnumbering the Filipinos.

One of the CCG personnel was seen smashing a rod against a Filipino RHIB and using the same rod to pick a bag from the Philippine boat.

In another recording, another CCG personnel was seen flashing strobe lights at Filipinos, apparently to disorient them.

He said on X the CCG operation “prevented (the AFP and the PCG) from carrying out a routine and legitimate resupply mission to our troops onboard BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, highlights their flagrant violation of international law.”

“It is evident that their greedy ambition has driven them to resort to violence,” he added.

Despite the Chinese getting bolder, Tarriela maintained there is no need to ask for help from other countries in dealing with threats from Chinese forces during rotation and resupply missions.

“Right now we don’t see any reason to request any foreign actor to support our ordinary, routine mission to BRP Sierra Madre,” he said.

Tarriela echoed the declaration from Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Presidential Assistant on Maritime Concerns Andres Centino that the violent disruption of the June 17 resupply mission could not yet be considered an armed attack.

The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US was not even discussed during the National Maritime Council meeting spearheaded by the two officials after the June 17 incident.

Tarriela emphasized the PCG and the AFP were still capable of carrying out rotation and resupply missions, despite Chinese harassment, as such endeavors are “ordinary, legitimate and routine.”

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